Hello my beloved reader,
Before I walked the PCT, I always felt sad at the end of my day-hikes or backpacking trips. I always felt I had more “walking” left in me. The same is true of those stories I write and post here, on this website. I can turn a 5-minute event into a 3-page story without even trying, and I always have more ‘writing’ left in me when I am done writing. So, I decided to get onto the writing PCT equivalent; I’m writing a book.
There has been many books written about the PCT. People I have told of this project always assume I am writing a book about the trail; I am not. My PCT hike is one section of a seven-sections book that starts in a counselor’s office in Bellingham and ends two years later here in Sedona and recounts the crazy set of events that took place in between . I actually don’t know how the book ends yet. The end is being written in real time.
Because my writing is being funneled into the book project (I already have several chapters written), don’t expect any stories here for a while, unless I feel inspired to post excerpts from my book. I’ve been talking about writing this book for a while, then suddenly I could not NOT write it. It’s been pouring out of me and there is nothing I can do about it but let it. This story apparently wants to be told, regardless of what I want. I think I’d rather be walking or exploring or kayaking or canyoneering, but that’s not what is happening. I comfort myself with the though that every great explorer has had, at some point, to take a break and record their adventures. I don’t know how long it takes to write a book, but I know that I will take this to completion as surely as I knew I was walking to Canada when I set off from Campo, and that it will likely be an adventure in its own right.
Here is a tentative, unedited prologue:
[P.S.: All protagonists’ names are changed in the book]
I remember clearly the moment when I first lost my mind.
It was a crisp January day and I was breaking up with Logan over the phone for the 7th time. A few days prior, I had returned from an ice-climbing trip during which Logan and I had explored delicate enchanting ice falls in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, in addition to the depth of both our passion and dysfunction.
The specifics of that particular breakup are irrelevant. Logan and I never did anything unspectacular. Our breakups could have rivaled the most dramatic of Greek tragedies, only to be undone a few months later by inescapable magnetic attraction compounded by series of serendipitous events. We were epic, filled with love and tragic; as was that January phone conversation.
That day, in the midst of a circular argument, I suddenly felt myself detach from my physical body. I floated up and to the right slightly, maybe a few feet, and started to slowly rotate clockwise above my physical location. I panicked, hung up and sat down, an observer to my own experience. “If I am up here, then who is down there, in my body?” I asked aloud. “Which one am I? Which one is observing this? Is that my soul out of my body?” Fear set in. “Have I gone insane? Has that man finally pushed me over the edge of reason? Is it recoverable?”
This is the story of the spiritual journey that ensued.
It took two years of mostly solitary roaming, over 15,000 miles by road, 2660 miles on foot and 400 miles by kayak, with a side trip to the foot of the Indian Himalayas, before I could regroup myself.
At least, it was not boring.
I might change the prologue after I write the whole book, but that’s where it starts, for now.
Love to you.
XOX – Mel.